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Tales From The Crypt
(1995-2001 Film Series)

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About These Films

1. Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995)  [The Demon Movie]
2. Tales From The Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996)  [The Vampire Movie]
3. Tales From The Crypt Presents: Ritual (2001)  [The Voodoo Movie]

About These Films:  It's a pity that these films did not achieve the glory of the "Tales From The Crypt" TV series (1989-1996).  There is really no difference from the TV series except for the fact that they are feature-length and done on a bigger budget.  I don't know why these movies didn't take.

    Each movie is a stand-alone film.  "Demon Knight" was awesome!  "Bordello of Blood"?  I thought it was good, but I bet just about everybody was upset with the ending.  I know I wasn't satisfied.  The third film, "Ritual", is a "Tales From the Crypt" film by name only.  It originally had nothing to do with "Tales From the Crypt", but when the film did poorly in theaters outside the U.S., new Cryptkeeper segments were added for the U.S. release.  "Ritual" was not released in the U.S. until May 2, 2006, direct-to-DVD.  It's actually a very good film, probably the best of the three, and certainly worth watching.

    Why did these movies do not-so-well?  "Demon Knight" actually made a profit and did pretty well, but didn't make a huge splash.  "Bordello of Blood" was a straight-up flop and became the butt of many jokes in Hollywood.  That was unjust.  However, it was because of the second film's commercial failure that a third film was cancelled.  "Ritual" was made as a regular horror movie without any attachment to "Tales From The Crypt", but when that proved not to work, it was altered slightly to become a third TFTC movie.  That didn't help much, either.

    The Cryptkeeper character, although funny, is a touch too grotesque and bizarre for most people's taste.  His segments appear at the beginning and end of each film.  Movie audiences may have found him unsettling.  I also think the movies freaked people out with excessive gore.  Nobody likes to see people ripped apart, unless they're mental in the first place.  When I watch these films, I try to look past the crazy violence.  When it comes to the second movie, I think people were ticked off with how it ended.  There was really no pay off.  Since the second movie bombed, many people didn't want to see another installment.  The series pretty much ended with "Bordello of Blood", and the third film was just a desperate way of trying to revive it.

    I love the humor in these films, the adult dialogue, and the story ideas.  "Demon Knight" was a bit more elaborate and clever than "Bordello of Blood", but that film also had an interesting premise.  "Ritual" had a very intriguing story that was as much of a mystery as it was a horror film.  Unlike the first two movies, "Ritual" is within the extreme realm of possibility.  It's also the least violent.  These movies certainly aren't for all audiences, but if you love oddball stuff that still makes some kind of sense, and is fun to watch, you've got to see the "Tales From The Crypt" films!

Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995)-  This movie is pretty awesome!  I loved the cast, I loved the story...I even liked how the movie was set up and faded out with the Cryptkeeper segments.  The Cryptkeeper is awful ugly and weird, but he's an amusing character.

    Billy Zane was incredible as the villain, The Collector.  He was as funny as he was scary.  In a strange way, the Collector was likable, even though he was pure evil.  You could almost respect him.  Mr. Zane should have won an award for this performance.  He did an outstanding job.

    William Sadler plays the lead hero, Frank Brayker.  Jada Pinkett Smith, as Jeryline, becomes the lone survivor of this tale and the ultimate savior of the universe.  It's really cool how it all works out.  I just think the world of actor Dick Miller.  I've enjoyed his work for so long, and he's really enjoyed a long and diverse acting career.  Miller plays the likable, but ill-fated alcoholic Uncle Willy.

    Brayker is a Demon Knight, a guardian of a special key artifact.  This key is the last of seven keys which can open the doors of Hell across the entire universe.  The demons possess the other six keys.  Inside this last key is the blood of Christ, which is the only thing that keeps the Collector and his demons at bay.  Brayker is in a desperate search to find a new guardian of the key, as his life is almost expired.  He comes to a run-down motel, converted from a church, and is holed up overnight with seven ecstatic people as the Collector and his minions fight to get inside and take the key.  If the key can be kept out of evil hands until morning, the demons will all go away and the universe will be safe for awhile longer.  However, the Collector and his demons are quite fierce and do everything they can to get inside.

"Demon Knight" Gallery

William Sadler as Frank Brayker
Billy Zane as The Collector
Jada Pinkett as Jeryline
Dick Miller as Uncle Willy
Thomas Hayden Church as Roach
CCH Pounder as Irene
Gary Farmer as Deputy Bob Martel
Ryan O'Donohue as Danny
Brenda Bakke as Cordelia
Charles Fleischer as Wally Enfield
John Schuck as Sheriff Tupper
John Kassir as Crypt Keeper [voice]
Peggy Trentini as Amanda
John Larroquette as Slasher [uncredited]
Kathy Barbour as Starlet
Tina New as Starlet

Fun Facts:
  • During the closing credits, the Cryptkeeper appears and tells people to watch for his next movie, "Dead Easy".  This was, in fact, the original title for the film that became "Bordello of Blood".
  • The key artifact from this film appears in the next film, "Bordello of Blood".  However, its appearance in the next film holds no relationship to this movie.  "Bordello of Blood" was not a direct sequel of "Demon Knight".
  • There are a number of little touches in "Demon Knight" that make reference to "Tales From the Crypt".  For instance, you'll see "Tales From the Crypt" comics in some scenes, and the mysterious man at the end whistles the theme to the TV show.

Tales From the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood (1996):  I like this movie, but the ending is unsatisfying.  If you ignore the last minute when we find out Erika Eleniak is a vampire and she kills Dennis Miller, you'll enjoy the rest of the story.  The cast is awesome.  Angie Everhart, in particular, gives a great performance as Lilith the vampiress.  Everhart's character is certainly sexy to look at, with a very non-sexy demeanor, and perfectly wicked.  Lilith is just as funny as she is evil.  Dennis Miller is also good in this movie.  He doesn't play a whole lot of characters who are likable heroes.  His private detective character of Rafe Guttman is a rather interesting, intelligent person to follow.  That's why the ending p***es me off so much.  Erika Eleniak always seems to be good in everything and was another highlight in the film.

    Each TFTC movie has a different premise.  This is a vampire movie.  A funeral home is a front for a whorehouse run by vampires.  The madame, Lilith, happens to be the ultimate vampiress.  Private detective Rafe Guttman learns this soon enough, but a much bigger conspiracy begins to unfold that rocks everyone concerned down to the core!

    This is a good movie, but not as good as "Demon Knight".  "Bordello of Blood" is a bit sillier than the first film, and certainly more violent.  The violence of this film might have been one of the movie's big turn-offs to mainstream audiences.  To me, sex and violence doesn't go together in the same scene.  Nudity works better with lighter fare.  The story for this film is also much more simple than "Demon Knight".  The first movie has such a big, expansive story where the stakes are really high.  This movie is just a simple vampire story.  I suppose people comparing the first two films of this series would like "Demon Knight" better.  If "Bordello of Blood" had been the first film in the series instead of the second, it might have done better.  But the finale of this film is the real kick-in-the-pants; it was done purely for shock value and really didn't serve the story.  After everything our heroes go through, THAT is how it ends?!  What the hell?!  I still recommend watching this movie, but the last scene is ignorable and leaves you unsatisfied.  It also killed the idea of a Rafe Guttman sequel.

Dennis Miller as Rafe Guttman
Erika Eleniak as Katherine Verdoux
Angie Everhart as Lilith
Chris Sarandon as Reverend Current
Corey Feldman as Caleb Verdoux
Phil Fondacaro as Vincent Prather
William Sadler as Mummy
John Kassir as Crypt Keeper [voice]

Alternate Titles:
  • Dead Easy

Fun Facts:
  • Dennis Miller has mixed feelings on his role in this film.  He does, however, like the scenes where he had to wake up at 3 a.m. shooting scantily clad vampire hookers with supersoakers.
  • The key in this movie is the same one used in "Demon Knight" (1995).  However, the continuity of the key does not follow into this film.  It could be assumed that if there was a third, actual TFTC film this key prop would have made an appearance.
  • William Sadler, who played the Mummy in the Crypt Keeper segments of this film, was the primary hero of "Demon Knight".  If this movie had been a hit, would Sadler have made an appearance in the next film?  Or would Dennis Miller have the cameo?  We'll never know.
  • Like the first film, there were references to the "Tales From the Crypt" franchise.  For instance, in a cemetery, the name "Gaines" appears on a crypt.  It's a reference to the late William Gaines (1922-1992), creator of the "Tales From the Crypt" comic books.

Tales From the Crypt Presents: Ritual (2001):  This third movie is probably the best of the lot, and it wasn't even meant to be a "Tales From the Crypt" film!  A TFTC trilogy was originally set, but when "Bordello of Blood" flopped, it was decided that "Ritual" would be a stand-alone film without any association to "Tales From the Crypt".  It was released in theaters outside the United States in 2001.  The movie didn't really do so hot.  "Ritual" was not released on DVD until March 2, 2006.  When it finally was to be released on DVD, it was decided that new segments with the Crypt Keeper would be added.  There is a very short segment of the Crypt Keeper shown before the actual film, and faux "outtakes" of the Crypt Keeper shown after the end credits.

     "Ritual" is not even made in the style of the previous films or TV series of "Tales From the Crypt".  Rather, it is a very straight-forward horror, mystery-thriller.  There isn't much gore, save for the early death scene of Erick Avari where he's shown melting.  It's certainly the most intelligent script of the three films, and it's very well-acted.  Of the three TFTC movies, this one is the most within the realm of possibility.

    Dr. Alice Dodgson goes to Jamaica as the personal physician for a wealthy American's younger brother.  Wesley, the sick man, believes he is being manipulated by some evil voodoo force.  Meanwhile, people start getting killed all over the place and Alice must question her own beliefs in science over magic.  A larger, much more sinister plot is at work.

    I was pleasantly surprised with the film's writing.  This movie is much more story-based than violence-based.  The violence is incidental.  Best of all, the film has a pretty satisfying ending.  I'm happy with the entire cast, but I have to say that Jennifer Grey is AWESOME in this film and deserves praise.  She's a good actress, anyway, but this role has been overlooked and needs to be recognized.

    Unlike my reviews for the first two films, I really don't want to give away the events of this film.  You need to see this one to really get into the mystery.

Jennifer Grey as Dr. Alice Dodgson
Craig Sheffer as Paul Claybourne
Daniel Lapaine as Wesley Claybourne
Kristen Wilson as Caro Lamb
Tim Curry as Matthew Hope
Gabriel Casseus as J.B.
Ron Taylor as Superintendant Archibald
Dorothy Cunningham as Violette
Randolph Winston Jones as Gentleman Jackson
Erick Avari as Dr. Peter Winsfold
Stephen Tobolowsky as Dr. Javitz
John Kassir as Crypt Keeper [voice]

Alternate Titles:
  • Revelation [U.S., working title]
  • Tales From the Crypt Presents: Revelation [U.S., alternate title]
  • Tales From the Crypt Presents: Voodoo [Philippines, English title]
  • Voodoo Ritual [DVD title in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden]

Fun Facts:
  • This film was made on a budget of $10 million.
  • This film is very loosely based on the 1943 film, "I Walked With a Zombie".
  • "I Walked With a Zombie" and "Ritual" were both produced by RKO Studios.
  • "Ritual" is the last film to come from RKO Studios.
  • Unlike the first two films, there are NO built-in references to the "Tales From the Crypt" franchise.  The brief Crypt Keeper segments were simply tagged onto the film's DVD release and were NOT in the theatrical version.